Jonah Goldberg
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Critics complain that the poor guy who puts in $1 will be hurt more than the rich guy who puts in $1 billion. But, Carson asks: "Where does it say you've got to hurt the [rich] guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don't need to hurt him. It's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands."

Carson's idea for health-care reform is even more Washingtonian. Instead of the technocratic behemoth of Obamacare, empower the individual. "When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account to which money can be contributed -- pretax -- from the time you're born till the time you die. If you die, you can pass it on to your family members ... and there's nobody talking about death panels."

The beauty of Carson's argument exceeds its simplicity, particularly as even economist Paul Krugman now concedes that something like death panels are inevitable if we stay on our current path. Taxpayers, the rich or charities can contribute extra money to the accounts of the poor, but at the same time, Carson says, the poor will "have some control over their own health care. And very quickly they're going to learn how to be responsible."

As a conservative, I'm obviously partial to all this. But there's something bigger than a policy dispute going on here. Although DuBois and Washington were understandably consumed by racial questions, the philosophical divide between Obama and Carson is one we are all part of now. And that's a sign of the racial progress both DuBois and Washington fought for.

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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